She tells me she will give me strength for the work I have undertaken. I must open my mouth to receive.
I don't hesitate. I would trust her with my life.
She produces something very small and white and fluffy. It fits inside the palm of her hand. I am amazed to see it is a lamb. Are they ever this small? She holds the lamb against my face. I smell milk and the fresh goodness of the wool, which is wonderfully soft against my skin.
She parts the wool and holds the lamb to my mouth.
Eat, she tells me.
The meat is sweet. It tastes more like fruit than flesh. I bite deep and the blood pours down my throat. There is no disgust. The blood tastes like wine. I continue to eat until all that is left is a tuft of white wool.
Now you are ready, she tells me.
I leave the scene and open the eyes of the body I left sleeping on my bed. How do I feel? I feel blessed, and grateful, and amazed.
It occurs to me that my dream of being offered the blood and flesh of a lamb comes at the time of Passover, when Jews celebrate the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt. In the Bible story, the God of Moses sent plagues against Egypt to compel Pharaoh to let his people go. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a sacrificed spring lamb; seeing the blood of the lamb, the disease-bearing spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in Jewish homes.
This is also Easter Week and a Christian name for Jesus is Lamb of God. In the Book of John, when John the Baptist sees Jesus, he says, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." (John 1.29) I remember chanting in an Anglican communion, eons ago,
qui tollis peccata mundi
I rose from my dream on Maundy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper. Have I just experienced an Easter dream? In my dream, it is the Goddess - for surely this is She - not the God, who is at the center of things. This might make the dream all the more timely in Easter Week, since Bede told us that the word Easter is the name of a goddess, the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre. (Jacob Grimm, in German Mythology, turned her name into Ostara.) The original meaning of Eostre, some scholars say, is "Dawn". She is also called Daughter of Heaven. She is associated with fertility and abundance; hence all those Easter eggs and bunnies. The newborn lamb she fed me might fit right in.
Dreams set research assignments, and I'll happily accept the need to dig further in these waving fields of mythic connections.
For now, I am happy and grateful to accept the gift of the Goddess, and with it the strength for new creative work.
Top: William-Adolphe Bouguereau, "L'agneau nouveau né" (1873)
Below: RM journal sketch 4/13/17